Economic hardship and psychological distress in custodial mothers

Sanford L. Braver, Nancy Gonzalez, Sharlene Wolchik, Irwin Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The present research examined the relationship between economic hardship and post-divorce psychological distress of custodial mothers. Economic hardship was measured in terms of: (1)current income level; (2) drop in income; and (3) negative economic events. Drop in income was further subdivided into (a) actual amount of drop; (b) ratio of income post-to pre-separation; (c) per person ration of income; and (d) ratio of income per person corrected for reduced financial needs. The HSCL (Derogatis, 1974) measured psychological distress, while four items from the Divorce Events Schedule for Adults (Braver et al., 1987) measured negative economic events. The subjects were 77 custodial mothers, recently separated and either divorced or seeking a divorce. Results documented both an increase in psychological suffering relative to a random sampleand substantial economic declines (about 30%). Further, there were significant unique relationships between the HSCL and both drop in income and the experience of negative economic events (but not current income).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-34
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Divorce
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 29 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Demography


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